BART Board approves resolution in support of Alliance for Girls efforts


BART Board approves resolution in support of Alliance for Girls efforts

Update: Due to COVID-19, the launch will occur at a later date when ridership returns and it is safe to have pop-up activities with youth.

The BART Board of Directors have approved a resolution in support of partnering with the Alliance for Girls to launch a sexual harassment prevention campaign in April and form a working group to make recommendations to advance a gender-equity safety action plan for transit spaces.  BART was the first transit system in the Bay Area to step up and make a commitment to work together.

The Alliance for Girls is the largest regional alliance of girl-serving organizations and leaders in the country. They recently published the "Together We Rise Report" about the lived-experiences of girls in the Bay Area.  The Alliance for Girls approached BART General Manager Bob Powers during his Listening Tour to present to him the report.  His response was he wanted to do more than just read the report.  He wanted to set up a Listening Session with girls and develop a partnership.

BART and the Alliance for Girls are planning pop-up activities for the month of April as part of a "Not One More Girl" sexual harassment prevention campaign.

The resolution, as requested by BART Board President Lateefah Simon, was adopted on Thursday Feb. 27, 2020 and reads:

WHEREAS, BART is committed to delivering safe transit in the San Francisco Bay Area; and

WHEREAS, a recently published report from the Alliance for Girls developed in partnership with high-school aged girls titled “Together, We Rise,” included community-based research finding girls in the Bay Area expressed feeling unsafe on public transportation and while walking through their communities; and

WHEREAS, “Together, We Rise” outlines how girls experience physical and verbal harassment often of a sexual nature on transit along with the lack of intervention from bystanders; and

WHEREAS, according to the “Youth Transportation Justice Report,” released in December 2019, complied by the One Day at a Time Transportation Justice Youth Team from East Contra Costa County, 45.3% of 274 surveyed East Contra Costa County middle and high school students did not feel safe taking BART and called on BART to create a safe environment for youth and young adults; and     

WHEREAS, according to the report “Measuring #METOO in California, A Statewide Assessment of Sexual Harassment and Assault,” published in May 2019, among all women surveyed, most (77%) reported experiencing sexual harassment in public spaces with 29% reporting the harassment took place on mass transit.

WHEREAS, BART is constantly striving to build relationships with the community it serves; and

WHEREAS, during the General Manager’s Listening Tour female riders expressed concerns about being groped while on board crowded trains and feeling unsafe especially at night; and

WHEREAS, during listening sessions with BART staff and the Alliance for Girls with local students, girls asked that more be done to provide a safe public transportation experience; and

WHEREAS, the Alliance for Girls defines girls as gender-expansive youth (cis girls, trans girls, non-binary youth, gender non-conforming youth, gender queer youth and any girl-identified youth); and

WHEREAS, the Board of Directors adopted a Safe Transit Policy in 2017 stating The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District is committed to ensuring all employees and users of our transportation system can move safely and conveniently in our parking lots, stations, trains buildings, and facilities and the Board of Directors have a special responsibility not to stay silent in the face of hate and discrimination against any of our customers, employees or contractors, and we choose to be a leader in protecting the human rights, equity, public safety and social well-being; and

WHEREAS, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) established a Women and Girls Governing Council in 2017 made up Metro employees to provide recommendations to advance gender-specific equity initiatives to improve women and girls’ experiences on Metro and their recommendations and reports could serve as guidance for BART; and

WHEREAS, centering girls and uplifting the needs of girls to create safety on public transportation is a powerful approach that would increase safety for others as well and could potentially increase ridership; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District hereby commends the founders of the Together, We Ride Working Group, an intergenerational working group made up of local community based organizations, local youth, and other engaged stakeholders as organized through the Alliance for Girls to oversee the development of a Gender Equity Safety Action Plan for Bay Area Transit Spaces, providing recommendations to BART for consideration to enhance safety and the rider experience for girls, women, transgender, and gender non-confirming people, while declining to create a formal advisory subcommittee; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, to the extent this independent group wishes to do so, the Together, We Ride Working Group may partner with BART Communications and BART’s Art in Transit Program to discuss a sexual harassment prevention campaign using voices and art from the community; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors encourages the General Manager to assign BART staff to collaborate with the Together, We Ride Working Group to advance recommendations prioritized by the Board of Directors and General Manager pending available funds; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, representatives from the working group are invited to offer to the Board of Directors, if they wish to do so, their findings and recommendations twice a year for a two-year period regarding their Gender Equity Safety Action Plan for Bay Area Transit Spaces.

View and download the resolution.

View the Alliance for Girls presentation. 

Watch the Board of Directors meeting with the presentation, testimony from youth, and comments from the Board of Directors. Click on the 2/27/20 meeting agenda item A 18-697 Resolution in Support of the Alliance for Girls.

Staff contact for those looking for more information about the partnership and planned events: Alicia Trost, BART Chief Communications Officer, [email protected]

Alliance for Girls and BART Board and Staff

Alliance for Girls

Haleema Bharoocha, of the Alliance for Girls made recommendations to the BART Board regarding safety on BART, during the board meeting on February 27, 2020, at BART Boardroom in Oakland. (Maria J. Avila/BART)

Youth speakers in support of resolution